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Jesse Jackson, Jr. Pins US Job Losses On iPad 628

Posted by timothy
from the protectionism-as-religious-talisman dept.
theodp writes "Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. went on an anti-technology rant on Friday on the floor of Congress, blaming the iPad for eliminating thousands of American jobs. 'Why do you need to go to Borders anymore?' asked Jackson. 'Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad, download your book, download your newspaper, download your magazine.' Jackson continued: 'What becomes of publishing companies and publishing company jobs? And what becomes of bookstores and librarians and all of the jobs associated with paper? Well, in the not too distant future, such jobs simply will not exist. Steve Jobs is doing pretty well. He's created the iPad. Certainly, it has made life more efficient for Americans, but the iPad is produced in China. It is not produced here in the United States."
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Jesse Jackson, Jr. Pins US Job Losses On iPad

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  • by immaterial (1520413) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @11:26PM (#35844842)
    He's not wrong (about the US losing jobs part). Using the magic of economies of scale and increased efficiency, big internet companies are gobbling up the chain stores in almost the exact same way the chain stores gobbled up the truly local competition. I can't say I feel bad for the chain stores, but JJJr is right in that it will present a difficult challenge to the country once tens of millions of local "middleman" (sales) jobs and businesses are consolidated down to a few thousand each in two or three 50-square-mile warehouses in the desert somewhere.
  • So can we work less? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by h00manist (800926) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @11:37PM (#35844900) Journal

    If there is no need for wasting paper, why do we need to work? Is it a religion, does everyone have to work, consume, and waste? What's broken are the economists, who cannot adjust the economy to change with the technology. Humanity has evolved before, but it was never by resiting change, but thirsting for it. There is no need to work just to consume, consume, there is a need to study, research and invent. That is real work.

  • Pitiful. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @11:46PM (#35844964) Journal
    Ah, a classic case of attacking the irrelevant symptoms and ignoring the relevant causes.

    Has the supply of US jobs that aren't either burger flipping or financial services scamming been gutted like a landed fish? Oh fuck yeah. Is that the iPad's fault? How can you even seriously consider such a foolish idea?

    With more respect than I can usually muster for Mr. Jackson, the numbers don't lie: American workers have been treading water or worse since the 70's. The economy as a whole has been doing OK, and productivity per worker has actually never been better; but fuck all of that has gone to the bottom 90-odd percent. The comparatively low-skill, low-capital populations that Jackson is probably most interested in appealing to have done particularly badly. The idea, though, that the destruction of a fairly modest number of low-skill, low-pay service sector jobs by technology is the root(or even a reasonably sized branch) of the problem would be hilarious were it not taken seriously. Low-skill, low-pay service sector jobs are the paltry rewards of the post-industrial economy, where people flip burgers for one another. If you are reduced to quibbling over those, you have already lost.
  • Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @12:20AM (#35845158) Journal

    The US turned into a service economy, now even the service jobs are being taken away.

    Another poster above complains about the saving of GM for the low skill jobs... but that is what the majority of people do. The majority is NOT working on the next generation chip technology or moon rocket (oh wait, that is China isn't it, my bad).

    There are several key industries in which people work:

    Food production, read farmers. This was once the mass employer but also a poor employer. Crops especially needed massive amounts of labour but only in certain times of the year. Seasonal labour is not all that great to have. But it still employed a great many AND also added some extra cash for people with tiny farms suitable only for feeding themselves. But now, food production is left to a handful and employment in the sector itself is very low.

    Food preperation. Quick, when did you last buy bread (US people, read on, I ate what you think of as bread, go stand in the corner and be ashamed and remember this, bread does NOT bounce!) from a baker who had his hands involved in the process? Wanna bet most bread comes from a factory paying very low wages? Luckily enough people still out so some people still make their money from food preperation but the time every few thousand people had their own bakery, butcher and grocer is long gone.

    Resource gathering. Often not really represented as a seperate group, I am talking about the miners and loggers here. Well, you can watch swamp loggers. A dozen men hauling of a dozen truck loads of wood in a day. Very impressive but not exactly going to put the masses to work is it? And very dependent on everyone else, if nobody is using wood to build houses, then no trees need to be cut down.

    Production. Factory work, either heavily automated or shipped abroad. Try to find anything in your house that is not made in China. Can you? Was on a US bus recently, most used ropes to call for a stop (looped through a metal thingy labelled marked in China) but one used buttons, grey bulges of smooth plastic with a red button. Exactly the same as in use in many Dutch busses... wanna bet their origin? Yes, this is low skilled work most of the time and it doesn't pay much. But millions upon millions once employed funded the moon landings with their taxes. A termite mound stands tall on the back of countless tiny worker backs. With the industrial revolution, this was the backbone of the economy.

    Service. This was the great new hope. What people who favored outsourcing thought would keep people employed when production went away. Sure, the iPad is not produced here but it must be sold here (how people are going pay for it if they don't have a job was never answered, or maybe it was seeing the recent crisis with debt). And now those jobs are indeed going away as well. Amazon does not employ the same number of people and certainly not at the same wage as the bookstores it is so busily replacing. Sure, it means cheaper books but also more people unable to find a decent job or indeed a job at all.

    ?????. What else is there? When farming went away as a mass employer, industry took over. When industry left, service took over. If service goes away... what is left? Government jobs? The army? Sex? No, these "industries" can only exist on the back of an employed society making enough money to afford them.

    But slashdot is a very bad place to discuss this. Most here have higher level jobs which are not YET affected all that much. Except, who is going to pay you in the future? Game developer? Who can afford a new console and 60 bucks per game if they got to combine 2 jobs or more at below minimum wage to just make ends meet? Regular developer? Your jobs are already being outsourced. IT support? Cost cutting already outsourced those jobs as well.

    But we still think we are safe. Somehow, magic new tech development is to employ around a billion people (the entire "west" is affected, not just the US) with no new line of work in sight.

    IF the high street really gets replac

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @12:35AM (#35845234)

    Another poster above complains about the saving of GM for the low skill jobs... but that is what the majority of people do. The majority is NOT working on the next generation chip technology or moon rocket (oh wait, that is China isn't it, my bad).

    Actually the US has a space industry, for now, but look what the taxation and regulation of California are leading to:

    "A big prerequisite for a risky new industry is product liability protection for manufacturers and an enforceable informed consent regime for operators – something New Mexico has addressed. Getting car insurance in California can be hard enough; imagine trying to cover a rocket ship. A space tourist does not demand the same level of protection as a kid boarding Space Mountain at Disneyland. Real spaceflight remains a risky endeavor and anyone who straps themselves into the first generation of vehicles is going to know to fully understand the dangers. All our serious competitors – New Mexico, Virginia and Florida – already have such protection and Texas just passed a similar bill.
    In regards to taxes, New Mexico’s top rate of 7.6 percent is a bit lower than California’s flat 8.84 percent. The Land of Enchantment uses a progressive structure far more conducive to nurturing small business and startups and it has created several tax incentives for the space industry. These include tax credits for the wages paid on newly created high-tech jobs, venture capital investments and a sales tax exemption for operations. This is a low-risk subsidy model for an all-or-nothing industry. If the private space businesses take off, thousands of jobs will be created and the state will see a wealth of taxable income. If, however, this industry turns out to be a profitless pipe dream, there is very little to be lost.
    If California chooses not to act, the business and tax revenues will surely head elsewhere in any case."
    http://m.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/apr/14/competitors-are-wooing-california-space-industry/ [signonsandiego.com]

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @12:52AM (#35845326)

    Which means the low skill jobs will be coming back.

    hth.
     

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @01:14AM (#35845426)
    CA needs more businesses to leave. There are way too many people who want to live in CA. They spend plenty, but the real issue is that they didn't raise taxes to match. Get rid of the artificial caps on real estate taxes and the real estate market will adjust. And make sure to get taxes inline with expenses, and if people have an issue with that, they can leave. That wont hurt CA, they would be better off if more people left. Sure, the rich people who don't want to leave will be paying a little more, but my response to that is "waah."
  • Re:Even more strange (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetNed (955141) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @01:20AM (#35845476)
    So are you saying that you don't understand a need to keep low skill jobs in the US? Sounds like you need a tour of a local high school to understand that not all students are destined for upper management these days. Maybe if you said the days of high paying low skill jobs are not sustainable anymore, that would make sense. But to say this country doesn't need a lower level working class seems to indicate you have little grasp of what our economy needs.

    I don't think the GM bailout was the best thing, but many good things have come from it, far more then other industries that the government has bailed out in the past.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2011 @01:46AM (#35845568)

    How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late: Andy Grove [google.com]

    How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late: Andy Grove
    By Andy Grove - Jul 1, 2010
    Bloomberg Opinion

    Andrew "Andy" Grove, co-founder and senior adviser to Intel Corp., listens during an interview in his office in Los Altos, California. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg News
    Recently an acquaintance at the next table in a Palo Alto, California, restaurant introduced me to his companions: three young venture capitalists from China. They explained, with visible excitement, that they were touring promising companies in Silicon Valley. I’ve lived in the Valley a long time, and usually when I see how the region has become such a draw for global investments, I feel a little proud.
    Not this time. I left the restaurant unsettled. Something didn’t add up. Bay Area unemployment is even higher than the 9.7 percent national average. Clearly, the great Silicon Valley innovation machine hasn’t been creating many jobs of late -- unless you are counting Asia, where American technology companies have been adding jobs like mad for years.
    The underlying problem isn’t simply lower Asian costs. It’s our own misplaced faith in the power of startups to create U.S. jobs. Americans love the idea of the guys in the garage inventing something that changes the world. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman recently encapsulated this view in a piece called “Start-Ups, Not Bailouts.” His argument: Let tired old companies that do commodity manufacturing die if they have to. If Washington really wants to create jobs, he wrote, it should back startups.
    Mythical Moment
    Friedman is wrong. Startups are a wonderful thing, but they cannot by themselves increase tech employment. Equally important is what comes after that mythical moment of creation in the garage, as technology goes from prototype to mass production. This is the phase where companies scale up. They work out design details, figure out how to make things affordably, build factories, and hire people by the thousands. Scaling is hard work but necessary to make innovation matter.
    The scaling process is no longer happening in the U.S. And as long as that’s the case, plowing capital into young companies that build their factories elsewhere will continue to yield a bad return in terms of American jobs.
    Scaling used to work well in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs came up with an invention. Investors gave them money to build their business. If the founders and their investors were lucky, the company grew and had an initial public offering, which brought in money that financed further growth.
    Intel Startup
    I am fortunate to have lived through one such example. In 1968, two well-known technologists and their investor friends anted up $3 million to start Intel Corp., making memory chips for the computer industry. From the beginning, we had to figure out how to make our chips in volume. We had to build factories; hire, train and retain employees; establish relationships with suppliers; and sort out a million other things before Intel could become a billion-dollar company. Three years later, it went public and grew to be one of the biggest technology companies in the world. By 1980, which was 10 years after our IPO, about 13,000 people worked for Intel in the U.S.
    Not far from Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California, other companies developed. Tandem Computers Inc. went through a similar process, then Sun Microsystems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Netscape Co

  • Re:Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:15AM (#35845658) Journal
    Do you have a solution? The complaints you are making are not new, people have been complaining about similar things for three hundred years or more, as global economies moved away from feudalism and into the industrial age. Somehow we survived.

    We can't try to hold back changes with things like tariffs, or subsidies. We can't continue giving jobs to the buggy whip manufacturers, they need to find new ways to survive. What we can do is make the transition easier. The world is always changing, and those who can adapt are the ones who survive. This is the idea behind the best European welfare systems, like the Danish Flexicurity [wikipedia.org]. Help people adapt and adjust to changes in the world. That's the best we can do: the world is always changing.
  • Re:Is he serious? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:48AM (#35845784)

    This is less about technology marches onwards and more about globalisation. He is right about the job losses caused by the ipad, but this is just one cornerstone of what is happening. I always laugh when somebody says we are living in a post industrialized world, it is not like that the production just has been moved to asia where they are smarter to keep the industries in their countries.
    (Btw. I am non US btw. but the same idiocy also affects europe)
    The funny thing is, that in the current economic climate the countries which heave heavy taxes on import have a booming economy while the ones playing the free trade rule are bleeding out slowly.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @05:18AM (#35846262) Journal
    Thing is if people stop having jobs they stop being able to buy stuff from Amazon.

    Unless as you say, there is massive Welfare. In which case people could spend their "Allowances" to buy stuff they like from Amazon or elsewhere.

    Many of the EU countries already have massive Welfare and universal healthcare so if there ever is a future where robots do most of the work their migration path isn't so difficult.
  • by xnpu (963139) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @05:30AM (#35846298)

    You highly overestimate the importance of low Chinese wages. In most products these wages form only a tiny fraction of total cost. Not to mention that China is in fact expensive when compared to other developing economies. To replace the Chinese wages with American ones would not increase prices that much.

    So why still produce in China? Because the Chinese government knows what it takes to make things attractive for manufacturing. Infrastructure, tax breaks, economic zones, environmental regulations, availability of energy and raw materials, managing a gigantic pool of laborers, etc. In places like Guangdong, Chengdu, etc. where production takes place, *everything and everyone* is geared towards production.

    I'm sure you understand you don't create a second silicon valley by asking IBM, Cisco and Microsoft to move next to a university in Florida. It's not that simple. Likewise you don't create an attractive climate for manufacturing by supplying cheap labor and telling Apple to move it's factory to the US. You'll need to do a lot more than that.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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